Artificial Intelligence is transforming higher education
– by Alain Goudey, Professor & Chief Digital Officer of NEOMA Business School
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become part of our everyday lives, from smart personal assistants such as Siri and Alexa, to security surveillance, and automatic parking systems.
In education, particularly in higher education, Artificial Intelligence is transforming traditional methods of teaching for both students and teachers, making the whole learning experience more customised, efficient and engaging.
The world has changed due to the momentum of technology, and teaching must reflect the fact that information is available at all times and in all places through smartphones and tablets.
Today, students do not necessarily need to attend physical classes as long as they have computers and internet connection, and although challenging, AI has and will continue to benefit education in various ways.
Firstly, from a Business School perspective, new technology can be used to enhance the efficiency of the school itself. At NEOMA Business School (France), we are exploring how to use AI to teach French as a foreign language with the EdTech Company Frello (founded by alumni).
This is exciting, as it takes learning to a completely new level and can teach students additional skills they may have otherwise missed out on.
Professionals in education need training to adopt Artificial Intelligence
Of course, as well as using AI as a tool, Business Schools also have a duty to teach AI to future managers.
All managerial jobs are going to be (if not already) impacted by AI – from finance to marketing, or HR to supply chain management.
Therefore, the AI technological wave has incredible potential for disruption as far as jobs, skills, organisations and businesses are challenged by this technology, and we have a responsibility to prepare our students for a world that will undoubtedly be highly competitive as a result.
So, as well as continuing to use new technology, we also need to learn how to work with it, as a component to our own skill sets.
Artificial Intelligence is driving innovation in education
Artificial Intelligence has enabled the education and academic world to become far more personalised due to its numerous applications, meaning each student can gain a much more tailored learning experience.
AI can fully customise the learning process; if the school has a good databased knowledge of the students, you can adapt the learning curve (repetitions, new concepts, etc.) but you can also adapt the content in terms of difficulty level or in terms of modality (video instead of text or text instead of pictures, etc.).
This gives you the opportunity to shape content synonymous with the required needs of the student- knowledge engineering if you like.
Perhaps the most widespread advantage of AI in education is the fact that these expert systems will permit the automation of time consuming, administrative tasks, in turn allowing teachers to spend more time with their students. Therefore, AI has become a useful tool to assist us so that we can perform our roles more sufficiently.
Indeed, there is much fear that machine learning will ‘replace’ us as teachers; we will no longer be needed and all students will eventually become distant learners.
However, I do not believe that artificial intelligence will substitute the learning process itself (and therefore Professors); instead education will just become AI enhanced, and the technology will be there to ultimately assist us.
Education has and always will be a social process – we absorb knowledge through our interactions with others. Our brains have been set up so that we learn by looking at peers, repeating gestures, comparing experiences and combining ideas.
Through trying and failing before succeeding, and experiencing the challenges that come with the learning process, we develop a variety of skills that a computer could never mimic.
Artificial intelligence is changing and developing education in various ways, and is bringing significant benefits to the learning process for teachers and students alike.
Ultimately though, AI will not replace human teaching completely, but will instead be used to augment human skills.
Pic: Hitesh Choudhary